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The Joel Futterman / Alvin Fielder / Ike Levin Trio: Traveling Through Now

Read "Traveling Through Now" reviewed by Henry Smith

Free jazz has always defined itself more by what it is not than by what it is. With an embrace of complete freedom of form comes a nearly infinite realm of musical possibility that has continued to expand since its cultural relevance began in the early 1960s. As various interpretations arose, a sort of nonlinear historiography developed including, among others, the spiritual jazz of John Coltrane, the “small instruments" sound of the Art Ensemble of Chicago, the big band reconfigurations ...

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Positive Knowledge: Invisible Wisdom

Read "Invisible Wisdom" reviewed by Marc Medwin

The duo of Oluyemi and Ijeoma Thomas continues to be a potent one on this, the long-running Positive Knowledge collaboration's release Invisible Wisdom. Recorded live at 2005's Vision Festival, it's a widely varied and ultimately rewarding set where the only problem is a slightly distant recording. That understood, the music is some of the most visceral and exciting the group has committed to tape. Audience presence is doubtless a factor in giving the group the extra edge ...

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Joel Futterman & Ike Levin: Enigma

Read "Enigma" reviewed by Rex  Butters

This most recent collaboration between two spontaneous musicians, pianist Joel Futterman and reedman Ike Levin, finds them pushing the empathic envelope to discover new, blazing soundscapes in which to ply their art. Futterman, a reclusive genius with a rehearsal habit that stretches eight to ten hours a day, displays staggering technique with unending production of ideas. His partner, a Bay Area free music firebrand, matches Futterman's creative stamina, burning brightly and serving up a feast of musical fireworks on this ...

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Positive Knowledge: First Ones

Read "First Ones" reviewed by Rex  Butters

Live and on record, Oluyemi and Ijeoma Thomas cover a lot of musical ground with their Positive Knowledge projects. First Ones continues that trend, featuring the powerful reed player and the fearless vocalized word magic of Ms. Thomas, along with long time collaborator Spirit on percussion. Ike Levin comes aboard on this edition, engaging Oluyemi in reed-ripping exchanges.

“Unexplained Reality/Events at the Edge opens with Ijeoma and the two horns improvising with Spirit's playful understated clatter. As Thomas commences her ...